Late-night exercise: A Workout to Sleep on

Most people seem to appreciate the benefits of exercise and for many this means squeezing in a workout early in the morning, during a lunch break and even late at night.

The fallacy: Exercise at night can interfere with a good night's sleep

Sleep recommendations for a longtime suggested no exercise within the last 3 hours before bedtime. The idea was based on the theory that the stimulation of exercise would keep people awake. After all, exercising raises the core body temperature, increases the heart rate and elevates adrenaline.

The fact: Exercise at night helps with your sleep

Evidence 1:
A 2011 study found that people who exercised vigorously for 35 minutes, slept just as well on nights as they did on nights when they didn't exercise.
Evidence 2:
Another recent study of 2015 found that people that were engaging in muscular strengthening activities had better sleep, actually.
Evidence 3:
The National Sleep Foundation's 2013 “Sleep in America Poll” examined the sleep habits of 1,000 participants. The authors found that 83% of people who exercised, regardless the time during day, reported better sleeping than those who didn't exercise at all. Only 3% of late-day exercisers reported worse sleep on days when they exercised, compared to days when they didn't.

What does this mean?
Regular exercise improves the wellbeing of people in many ways and contrary to the common myth it generally improves sleep. Keep in mind though, that everyone is different. For some people exercise before bedtime may cause sleeping problems but recent studies now suggest it's not the norm. Experiment with the time during the day, type of training, duration and intensity to see what feels right for you.

Engaging in aerobic-based or resistance type of exercise is equally effective. The only limiting factor seems to be time availability.

Workout

Activity Level: Active people
Goal: Fat Loss
Duration: Less than 1 hour

Start with a gentle warm-up for at least 5 minutes. Stretches follow after. Cool-down at the end of the session just like in the warm-up.

1. Core Part (8min):
Perform in a circuit manner. Repeat circuit 2 times.
A1. Cat camel mobility exercise x 10 repetitions

A2. Side bridge x 6 (pause at top position for 5 seconds)
A3. Bird-dog x 5 (pause at top position for 5 seconds)
A4. Plank – tap shoulders x 8 repetitions

2. Strength Part (15min):
Perform in a circuit manner. Keep short rest intervals between sets and 2 minutes after every circuit. Repeat 2 or 3 circuits depending on your time availability.
Circuit A:
A1. Split squat 3x10-12
A2. Inverted row 3x10-12
A3. Single-leg hip thrust 3x8-10
A4. Push-ups 3x10-12

3. Cardio Part (7min):
If you don’t have 45 minutes or so to workout this ultra-short workout will do the trick for you. Perform on a bike.

Try the 3 all-out sprints of 20 seconds with up to 2 minutes rest. Repeat 3 times

Final thoughts
Getting exercise is always better than getting no exercise at all. If nothing else, late-night exercise is worth a try. And although it does not apply to everyone it can certainly open up healthy new horizons.

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